Premier League 2019-20, Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool: 5 talking points
Many call this encounter the biggest game in English football, and some have even gone as far to say it rivals El Clasico. Regardless of the public opinion, it’s a fact that Manchester United and Liverpool are domestically the most successful clubs in England.
However, there’s never been an encounter between the two in which the gap in quality has been so large - especially in favour of Liverpool.
Yet it was United who opened the scoring, albeit in controversial fashion, as the under-pressure Marcus Rashford stabbed home after 36 minutes. The game was tightly contested and heading towards an unfathomable United win until returnee Adam Lallana tapped in from five yards out with six minutes of normal time to go.
The draw sees Liverpool cut their lead to six points at the top of the table, while United dangle two points above the relegation zone. Here are five talking points from the match:
#5 Five at the back
It’s not the Manchester United way to sit back against any side on the planet, especially at Old Trafford. The days of Sir Alex Ferguson have imprinted a philosophy of high-octane attacking football that eventually wears down any opponent.
But considering today’s tactics from Ole Gunnar Solskjær, those days are clearly dead and buried. The Norwegian sacrificed tradition for practicality, because in essence this was a relegation battling team vs the best side in the country. Five at the back was the only option.
United lined up with five at the back, which turned into a back three in possession. And in the end, the Norwegian’s decision was justified.
The back five deprived Liverpool of space in the final third. And going the other way, the wing-backs forced the likes of Henderson and Wijnaldum to cover the wide spaces, thus opening up space in the middle for Fred and McTominay to bomb forward.
All in all, Manchester United did well to stifle the rampant Liverpool.